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Travel & Leisure

Okinawa rivals Hawaii in tourist numbers but not spending

Japanese vacation hot spot looks to attract long-stay visitors as it recovers from COVID

The popular Shinto shrine Naminoue Shrine is seen in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of JNTO)

NAHA, Japan -- No sooner had Okinawa crossed a tourism milestone than the coronavirus pandemic closed Japan's borders. Now, as the leading Japanese resort destination looks to make a comeback, it needs to find ways to bring in more cash and not just more visitors.

Okinawa drew more than 10 million tourists in 2019. Hawaii attracted the same level of visitors, but travelers stayed there for an average of about eight days, compared with less than four in Okinawa.

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